3 Reasons Christians Should Not Endorse Purity Culture

3 Reasons Christians Should Not Endorse Purity Culture
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Purity culture, an influential wave rooting a woman’s worth in her sexual history, peaked in the 1990s to the early 2000s and remains prevalent today. Despite purity culture teaching being biblical or rooted in love for the Lord, there are many ulterior motives. Sadly, there are many Christians who endorse purity culture, and it has caused many people to suffer for it.

There are many podcasts, social media accounts, and books rooted in purity culture, targeting Christian women. The media has promoted purity culture and its teachings for many years, causing young Christian women, once again, to believe their worth is tied to their virginity or the desire to be “pure.” As one can imagine, this can cause many women, both believers and nonbelievers, to question their worth as individuals.

The influence of purity culture leads women further away from Jesus. He offers grace, mercy, and love. Individuals promoting purity culture push judgments on individuals that are not warranted. Unfortunately, many Christians would prefer to extend judgment rather than mercy. As followers of Jesus, this is not acceptable. We are supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus—not unrighteous judges.

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1. Only God Has the Authority to Define a Woman's Worth

Purity culture teaches that a woman’s worth is rooted in her sexual history. If a woman had sex before marriage, she. is seen as impure or treated as inferior. This is not biblical at all. Even if a woman has sex before marriage, it does not mean she has lost any of her value. While it is ideal for a woman and a man to wait until marriage, we have to acknowledge that not everyone does this. In no way does this cause a person to lose moral ground, nor does it cause them to be a less faithful follower of Christ.

We are not God. Therefore, it is not our place to judge. If a believer chooses to have sex before marriage—whether female or male—-we know the Holy Spirit will convict them, as well as their own conscience. Their own shame and guilt will most likely drown them out. How is it Christian for us to add to their guilt and shame? Scripture reminds us guilt and shame do not come from God, who loves us, but the enemy, who seeks to accuse and destroy us. Alternately, we need to support, pray for, and help them know forgiveness is found in Christ. 

The Bible tells us that if we ask God for forgiveness, He is faithful and will forgive us (1 John 1:9). This applies to anything, including sexual sins. Whether or not you are a believer, when we go to God for forgiveness, He forgives. If you are not a believer, consider getting to know the true Jesus of the Bible. Learn about Him and experience His love for you. He died for us to have abundant and eternal life (John 10:10, 17:3).

If you want to place faith in Jesus today, you can! Forgiveness and salvation are open to all. The Lord wants you to come to know and place faith in Him. He will not hold your past actions against you and will wipe away all your sins. In Him, there is redemption, forgiveness, and a new life. By placing faith in Jesus, believing He died for your sins, was buried, and rose again, you will join the family of God (John 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). 

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2. Purity Culture Promotes Unfair and Impossible Expectations 

Christians should not endorse the toxic teachings of purity culture. Purity culture takes things too far, even going to the extremes that dating couples cannot share regular hugs or show affection to each other. Purity culture was widely popularized on television shows like “19 Kids and Counting.” On this show, when older boys and girls started dating, they were taught to share side hugs only, have chaperoned dates, and not kiss before marriage.

As one can imagine, this is very restrictive and can cause many issues for people. The eldest son from this show, particularly Josh Duggar, has been convicted of many crimes, including child pornography. He is now serving in prison without access to any of his children. It’s worth noting that those who grow up in purity culture lifestyles are the ones who struggle with sexual sins the most.

It is the same as the forbidden fruit ideology, in which one thing is restricted. As it is, when we restrict anything, we want it more. This makes purity culture very dangerous. It causes people to hyper-fixate on the desire to have sex, which will lead them to have many problems. Individuals should want to wait until marriage to have sexual intimacy because this is what God has said is right, good, and faithful—they should not be forced into it.

If a person does not truly want to serve Christ in their relationships, nobody can make them. Purity culture teaches that boys and girls cannot be trusted to control themselves, including the belief that a man cannot be in the same room alone with a woman without wanting to do something to her, promoting the idea that men are animals and cannot control themselves, which is not true. Both males and females can control themselves and bring God glory through their actions. 

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3. Replace Trends with Biblical Truth 

Focusing on the Bible rather than the purity culture trend is important. Purity culture takes things too far. A woman’s worth is not rooted in her sexual history or virginity. Instead, her worth is rooted in Christ. All believer’s identities are found in Christ alone—not in their past.  

Purity culture stresses women to be “pure.” A person who doesn’t engage in sex before marriage isn’t necessarily “pure.” Nobody is completely pure and innocent. We have all done sinful things (Romans 3:23). Only by placing faith in Jesus and being found in Him are we washed clean of our sins. Through Jesus, we are declared clean and righteous. This is nothing that we have earned or merited. It is all because of Jesus.

No matter where you find yourself today, remember this: Jesus has already forgiven you and declared you His child. Nothing in your past can hinder you from running to the Lord. Purity culture teaches us to hate ourselves, see ourselves as just a possession, and never to see ourselves as truly we are. We are children of God, loved and forgiven. Never will the Lord bring up the things of the past.

He has built a new future for you that is not rooted in the lies of purity culture. Your worth is found in Him—not in anything else. Whatever you have done in the past, know it is forgiven in Christ. 

Christians should not endorse purity culture because there’s nothing biblical about it. We have to use what we know in the Bible to guide and instruct us in the way we should go. While the Bible does say to avoid sex until marriage, God doesn’t hate or cast us off if we do. There is forgiveness in Him. Individuals who claim we will burn in hell for not waiting until marriage to have sex, their ignorance of the Bible and the Person of God is evident. It is ideal to wait until marriage to have sex, but don’t mistreat yourself or others if this is not the case.

Similarly, when dating someone, there is nothing sinful or wrong about regular hugging, kissing, or affection. There is no Scriptural proof to back any of that up. It is time to set people free from purity culture to live the life Jesus died for us to have. This life is meant to be lived for God and to help others come to know Him. Nobody can do this if they are constantly judging and putting others down. 

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Vivian BrickerVivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

3 Reasons Christians Should Not Endorse Purity Culture